Wise Words from a Grand Mother

Important rules to teach our daughters:

  1. Travel light through life, keep only what you need. Let go of what no longer serves you.
  2. Every thought you have is not a fact. Know the difference.
  3. Not everything you think should be shared.
  4. It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It is also okay to smash (some) things; but, wash your face, clean up your mess and get up off the floor. You don’t belong down there.
  5. If you are going to curse, be clever. If you’re going to curse in public, know your audience.
  6. Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul.
  7. People will leave your life. It’s okay to let them go. Yes, it will hurt. Yes, you will heal.
  8. New people will enter your life. Be selective about who you let in.
  9. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
  10. 5-second rule. It’s just dirt. There are worse things in a fast food cheeseburger.
  11. You are a woman, you do not need a man, but you can absolutely enjoy your life with a good one.
  12. Happiness is not a permanent state. Wholeness is. Don’t confuse these.
  13. Never measure how strong you are by how much pain you can endure.
  14. Ruts are a part of life, don’t stay stuck in one.
  15. A soak in a hot bath and a good night’s sleep are a cure for many things.
  16. Never walk through an alley alone.
  17. Be less sugar, more spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without, compromising yourself.
  18. Can’t is a cop-out. Totally unacceptable and doesn’t belong in your vocabulary.
  19. Hold your heroes to a high standard. Be your own hero.
  20. Face your fears and do not be held hostage by them.
  21. If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.
  22. Never lie to yourself.
  23. Your body, your rules.
  24. If you have an opinion, you better know why.
  25. Practice your passions.
  26. Ask for what you want. The worst thing they can say is no.
  27. Wish on stars and dandelions, then get to work to make them happen.
  28. Stay as sweet as you are.
  29. Fall in love often. Particularly with ideas, art, music, literature, food and far-off places.
  30. Say Please, Thank You, and Pardon Me, whenever the situation warrants it.
  31. Reserve “I’m sorry” for when you truly are.
  32. Naps are for grown-ups, too.
  33. Question everything, except your own intuition.
  34. You have enough. You are enough.
  35. You are amazing! Don’t let anyone ever make you feel you are not. If someone does…walk away. You deserve better.
  36. No matter where you are, you can always come home.
  37. Be happy and remember your roots, family is EVERYTHING!
  38. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  39. Know what you value. Value yourself too.
  40. Be kind; treat others how you would like them to treat you.
  41. If in doubt, remember whose daughter and grand-daughter you are. Comb your hair, put on your lipstick, and straighten your crown!

I believe this was originally written by Pam Van Patton, my husband’s 1st ex-wife and mother of his daughter, Angie. This version includes a few of my own enhancements. Copy and post and credit Pam please.

We are the Workers!

I wrote these paragraphs last year when I posted the group pictures I took as we prepared to start our 2017 – 2018 school year. I am reposting these words again here because they express so well how I feel about this uniquely original working environment I am privileged to be a part of. We have a new and savvy leader, Jodi Cohen, who is bringing in a wave of new ideas and sharing innovative ways to think about the work we do. We love Jodi!
The lighting was awful, the camera was set on high grain from my last shoot, and several photogs snapped the shutter. Who cares? look at this group! Aren’t they amazing? I am always so affected by the size of this crowd. This year, my daughter Desiree joined the staff of AGB, along with a fresh new group of newly hired teachers. Welcome everyone! You are in for quite an adventure!!!
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August 1, 2018 Group Shot after a little breakfast staff meeting. There are now 83 of us and growing.
It’s a preschool! It’s a freaking preschool! How many times have I heard this from, frustrated parents, disgruntled co-workers, and outsiders who could never understand the dynamics of this place! it is a community. It is several communities within one larger group. There is one cohesive element that connects everyone here. It is a mutual desire to provide for ourselves, and for our loved ones a better quality of life. It is a place where many come, and those lucky enough to become grounded, stay for a while. In that “while”, lives take place.
Here we are brought together, by choice, by chance, or by fate. Together we celebrate and mourn. We witness struggles and personal challenges and we applaud personal achievements. Ours, and those belonging to the people into whose lives we have been placed, and who in turn sojourn through our own lives.  We are the workers. We are the ones on whose shoulders things larger than us are built. Within the architecture of the larger structure is where you find each one of us. Individuals living in a world of our own making, who have come together to do this work. It is not easy.
 I have often asked myself, “why do you do it?” Although it would be so admirable of me to say I do it for the greater good of someone, or some Nobel ideal, or as I hear teachers say, “I do it for the children,” I don’t do it for any of those reasons. I do it for myself. A very personal and selfish reason. I find the work I do fulfills me. And I find the people I work with enjoyable. And I find the children irresistible.
I have been enriched by my time working in this place in ways I have probably forgotten. Each day with its unique challenges has provided me lessons no institution of higher learning could equal.  I’ve witnessed humanity here from one social-economic spectrum to its extreme opposite.  I’ve observed that the wealthy do not escape loss, sorrow, or pain. And, the poor do not go without love, joy, and happiness.  Higher education does not always provide good workers, and the best workers are not always the ones with the highest education. The prettiest amongst us will eventually age and not always well. And the least attractive amongst us, often age quite well. Not everyone gets what they want, in the way they expect it, but sometimes that is a good thing because it allows life to surprise us. My work here has always surprised me.
Cheers to another year, and to us, we are the workers, and we do a great work! Thank you!